From aircraft fairing to train noses, boat hulls and wind blades, composites offer dramatic opportunities to meet today’s increasingly cost-driven market requirements and environmental concerns. As well as this, composites design offer additional benefits such as:
  • They are stronger and lighter than traditional materials
  • They enable you to predict part behaviour for quality and optimisation
  • Using composites design you can optimise complex structures definition
  • By using composites design you can anticipate issues upfront and avoid trial and error on the shop floor
  • Using composites design enables you to influence the design of components
  • Composites design can help you solve complex manufacturing situations

Stronger and Lighter

Ultralight, strong, highly resistant and durable, composites are ideal for producing lightweight structures with tremendous performance capabilities. Yet, designing and mass-producing complex production-ready composites parts is highly complex and expensive.

Predict Part Behaviour for Quality and Optimisation

Among the different ways to start the preliminary design of a composite part, zone-based design is ideal to capture analysis constraints and predict the behaviour of the part inside the design environment by importing thickness laws from stress. CPD provides easy-to-use dedicated zone (geometry and laminate) creation and modification features.

Zone-based modelling contributes to significant time savings with the ability to generate conceptual solids or IML surfaces for early integration of the composites parts in the mock-up, and enable concurrent engineering with mating parts. Moving from preliminary to detailed design, CPD provides highly productive automatic ply generation from zone capabilities with automatic management of the ply staggering and stacking rules.

The ability to quickly and automatically transition from zones to plies while keeping full associativity, allows the designer to focus on the design intent and helps dramatically reduce the number of geometrical tasks required to design the part.

To facilitate the weight and strength optimization of the part and the simulation of its behaviour while reducing design cycle time, the design in an analysis context delivers an integrated link between design and FEA. Integration with the CATIA V5 Linear Elfini solver provides fast design-analysis iterations in full associativity with the zones and plies definition, taking true fiber angles into account.

Optimise Complex Structures Definition

CPD also provides composites designers with the ability to capture the assembly information within the design environment. From wing panels or fuselage barrels to boat hulls, the grid-based approach is a breakthrough technology enabling designers to automate and optimize the definition of large and complex structures in context of their mating sub-structures.

Dedicated features are available in this context to define the preliminary grid:

  • The positioning of stiffeners and frames as reference elements
  • Staggering and clearance constraints applied to these elements
  • Import of stress input – stacking sequences or thickness laws – for each cell of the grid

As the designer is ready to create plies from the grid, further optimisation of the design can be accomplished by choosing among various algorithms, plies shapes, and customisable drop-off patterns. Powerful ply modification features are also available to tailor the design, whether by swapping ply edges to optimize drop-offs and ply shapes, rerouting sets of plies along a preferred path, easily compute or modify sections of local drop-offs.

Anticipate Issues Upfront and Avoid Trial and Error on the Shop Floor

No matter how good designs are, it is necessary to make sure composites parts can be built easily, consistently, in an affordable way, and that they meet initial requirements. Dedicated features are therefore also available to account for manufacturing constraints early in the design process.

  • Material Excess accounting for the trim allowance
  • 3D Multi-Splice to accommodate material roll width
  • Darts to remove significant fiber distortions from plies
  • Minimum Tape Length accounting in case of automated Process
  • Ramps and drop-offs automation to address machines limitations

The design in manufacturing context provides the ability to assess fiber deformations in plies, take corrective action early in the process, and generate the right output (such as flat patterns) the first time to eliminate trial and error on the shop floor. The fiber deposit context can be captured inside the design environment, supporting enhanced fiber deposit strategies, such as guide curve or sectors, and various propagation modes.

Influence the Design

The verification of composites structures requires time-consuming testing and usually occurs too late in the development cycle to have a meaningful impact on the design. To accurately predict the complex structural behaviour of such parts – and early enough in the development cycle to influence design – the entire Composites dataset can be analyzed with SIMULIA’s Abaqus FEA product suite and other major solvers.

Solve Complex Manufacturing Situations

Feedback from as-built manufacturing can also help refine and secure the process. Composites manufacturing information from automated placement solutions such as Ingersoll’s iCPS can now be certified in Abaqus/CAE, accounting for actual fiber path.

Are you looking to utilise a Composites Design Solution? Get in touch with us today on 02476 308 500 or send an email to and a member of our team will help find the right solution to meet your requirements.

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